Gillian: My Self-Care Tips for a Healthy Semester

My Self-Care Tips for a Healthy Semester

Self-care is critical to your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, we all know that. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to practice what we preach. Life gets busy, and slowing down is the last thing on anyone’s mind, but I’m here to remind you to take care of yourself. Here’s some of my tips for practicing self-care during a hectic semester:

  1. Find a TV show you love to binge-watch. Let it be your guilty pleasure. Mine are New Girl, Gilmore Girls and the Bachelor franchise. Sometimes self-care just means turning off your brain at the end of the day. Also, if you want to be with people, but don’t have the energy to talk, watching a show together at the end of the day is a great move.
  2. Experiment with different foods and diets to find the specific balance of health and indulgence that works for you. I was vegan for years until I realized that, for me, the health benefits weren’t outweighed by how badly I wanted a fried egg and a piece of milk chocolate. Make choices with both your body and heart in mind. 
  3. Find ways to move your body every day that don’t suck. Notice that you aren’t even leaving your dorm or apartment some days? Take a walk to Trader Joe’s and buy yourself some healthy snacks. Incentivize movement, and you’ll find it much easier.
  4. When you’re feeling particularly down, treat yourself to something you love. Are you a Starbucks matcha latte fiend? Treat yourself to a venti, or learn how to make it yourself (all you really need is matcha, a sweetener, milk and a milk frother). 
  5. Journal in some form or another. During the holidays, I was gifted a five year journal where I write down a sentence about what happened every day. I’ve found it to be a particularly effective way to practice self-reflection and gratitude, and highly recommend it!
  6. Get a plant. Whether it’s herbs, flowers, or just a simple succulent, adding nature into your environment is huge. Not only do house plants have a variety of physical benefits, but having to take care of another living thing often serves as a good reminder to take care of yourself.
  7. Do all the things your parents told you to do. You rolled your eyes, but taking a daily multivitamin and applying sunscreen every day (no matter the weather) are things you’ll thank yourself for doing later.
  8. Start listening to podcasts. Learn about what’s going on in the world, or just listen to your favorite influencers chat. Either way, it’s a great thing to incorporate into your day that can be paired with other self-care activities like long walks, or cleaning your apartment. 

Hopefully somewhere in that list is a tip or reminder that will help you this semester! Just remember, especially this semester, we’re all in this together. Reach out to resources on or off campus if you feel you need more support. Screen Shot 2021-03-01 at 6.04.29 PM

Gillian: 4 Underrated Places Outside of the BU Bubble

It’s that time of year. The weather is getting colder, the days are getting gloomy and your assignments are piling on. Add the pandemic into that equation, and it’s easy to just stay in your dorm room or apartment 24/7. Even venturing out to places on campus may seem like a daunting task this semester. I get that.

But! The BU bubble is real, and you deserve a break. This semester, what I’ve found particularly helpful for my mental health is going off on solitary adventures. This could mean buying myself a donut just for the heck of it or setting aside some time to go on an extra long walk. Living in Coolidge Corner, I’ve been discovering some really awesome places that aren’t talked about quite as much as, say, Harvard Square or the North End. 

Here are my favorite places this semester:

1) When Pigs Fly

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This incredible local bakery has delicious flavored breads like Sun-dried Tomato and Basil, or their current seasonal flavor, Pumpkin Cranberry Apple (10/10 recommend). Every Wednesday, they sell $2 loaves of freshly baked sourdough, and every Saturday they sell giant, delicious donuts. I’ve been working my way through the donut flavors and most recently got the Walnut Apple Strudel. Delish.

This place is about a block away from me, so Brookline kids rejoice! But, it isn’t far from campus, either. Coolidge is about a 30-minute walk away, or a quick ride on the green line.

2) Brookline Reservoir Park

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This is my favorite find of the semester, but I’ve never heard anyone mention it. Probably because it’s a trip, but I really do think it’s worth it. Located near Brookline Village, this park has a one-mile gravel lined path around the reservoir (can’t you just hear that crunch of the gravel?).

It’s peaceful and really nice to be near water that is blue and sparkling, unlike the Charles. It’s about a thirty-minute walk from Brookline. You can also walk here from campus if you’ve got a nice chunk of time to spare, but you can take the green D line shuttle to get you a lot closer.

3) Athan’s Bakery

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Now that the weather is finally colder, you may be in the mood for coffees, teas and hot chocolates. Well, Athan’s has that and so much more (including authentic pastries and chocolates). Located in the (highly underrated) Washington Square, Athan’s is a great place to get some sweet treats. And it’s an easy train ride on the C line! 

4) The Fenway Victory Gardens

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Okay, okay, I’ll include one thing that’s actually close to campus. If you went to in-person orientation, you may recognize this one. Tucked into Fenway, there’s this beautiful little community garden. These gardens were actually created as victory gardens during WWII! It’s a lovely place to walk around and feel connected to both nature and the Fenway community, and it’s an easy walk from campus.

Gillian: What Did I Do in Quarantine?

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Alrighty, folks. The start of the school year is only a week away. The unending, six-month hiatus from campus has finally come to an end. Despite my consistent stance that I would do anything to go back to campus, part of me is a little sad. I accomplished more in these six months than I have in the last twenty years of my life. And so, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on these last six months and a few of the things that I have done.

1. I baked. A lot.

Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Like the entirety of the internet, shortly into quarantine I went on a baking spree, but I took it a little farther than most. Yes, I made your typical quarantine banana bread and sourdough starter (truly such an amazing and exhausting thing) but I also started a food blog and food insta just for fun. Did I go viral like I was secretly hoping I would? No. Did I have a lot of fun and learn how to make lots of new recipes (like fresh pasta and gooey cinnamon rolls)? Yes!

2. I taught myself how to use Adobe Illustrator

One of the coolest things about being a COM student is our free access to all things Adobe. Up until now, I’ve been happy just using Adobe Premiere because that’s all I’ve learned in my Film and TV classes so far. However, I want to get into graphic design and illustration, and I figured there’s no better time to learn how to use a new software than during six months of unexpected free time!

3. I took two online summer classes

While it looked quite different from normally going to class, school didn’t exactly stop for me in May! I was able to take Elementary Statistics and Intro to Philosophy this summer–two really valuable HUB classes for HUB kids (only the seniors know what BU was like without HUB now…crazy, right?). BU has so many summer classes to offer, and I would never have thought to take them and get ahead on credits if it hadn’t been for quarantine!

4. I did a remote internship

I know, I’m one of the lucky ones. My in-person internship was transitioned to a remote one, and I got some incredibly valuable experience and connections through it. As a Social and Community Intern at Public Goods, I got to have hands on experience all from the comfort of my bedroom! Plus, I got to fulfill that internship credit requirement for graduation. Talk about the best of both worlds.

Overall, I’ve had a pretty good summer, and I’ve tried to make the best of all of this unexpected free time. That being said, I can’t wait to be back on campus again and see what this new normal has in store for us all this fall! See you soon, COM!

Gillian: Some Early Spring Self-Care Suggestions

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I’m sure everyone is acutely aware of the fact that Sunday was Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil decreed that this year we will have an early spring. For us BU students, that means getting ready for some balmy 55-degree weather and a revival of raincoats. Whatever spring might mean to you, I always take advantage of this transitory period from winter to spring to make sure that I am the best me that I can be! Here are some tips that I follow:

Spring Cleaning

It’s called spring cleaning for a reason. During the spring, I like to go through the material goods in my life and get rid of anything that doesn’t ~spark joy~. I recommend going to Buffalo Exchange and donating what I can trade for store credit and then using that store credit to purchase some new fun thrifty finds. When your friends ask you where you got that cool new jacket, you can impress them by saying it was a thrift store find.

Exercise

The return of spring has a way of making me remember how I can’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath, and how that’s not an ideal situation. Exercise, whatever the level, is important to your physical and mental health. I highly recommend yoga because it combines physical exercise with some meditation, nurturing every part of you. BU’s FitRec has yoga (and all other kinds of exercise) classes, as well as some semester-long PDPs. There are also some cool yoga studios nearby! Coolidge Yoga in Coolidge Corner and Down Under Yoga near South Campus both have “$30 for 30 days of unlimited yoga” deals! Spring score!

Fun Events

Spring brings along a lot of fun events, both seasonal and not. During this time of warming weather and allergies, I try to make sure that I have some FUN! From events on campus, like going to BU’s extracurricular theatre clubs’ events  -Shakespeare Society is hosting their version of Shakespeare in the Park later this spring – to events off-campus like going to Boston Women’s Market or to midnight showings of your favorite movies at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, Boston has a lot to offer!

Overall, it’s important that you are taking care of all facets of yourself at all times . Spring is a lovely, gentle reminder to do the things that make you happy and healthy. I will be doing my self-care – will you?